As part of the Municipal Energy Manager Program, the Town of Cochrane has hired a Sustainability and Transit Coordinator that will benchmark municipal facilities, identify energy savings opportunities and implement greenhouse gas emission-reducing projects.
The Town of Cochrane is creating energy savings and fostering a culture of efficiency through participation in the Municipal Energy Manager program. The program removed major cost and knowledge barriers by offering two years of salary funding (up to 80 per cent), ongoing consultant support, as well as networking opportunities with other energy managers across Alberta.
The Town of Cochrane hired Devin LaFleche, through the Municipal Energy Manager program as their Sustainability and Transit Coordinator.
Devin LaFleche graduated from McGill’s Master of Urban Planning program in 2018. His research at McGill in collaboration with the City of Calgary focused on Quality Outcome Management in the planning process. As Sustainability & Transit Coordinator, Devin oversees the operation and management of the Town’s renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. His new sustainability role has led to the implementation of significant consumption reduction measures across the organization, which have resulted in real savings and progressive change for the Town of Cochrane.
Tip: Municipalities can choose whichever position title they prefer when they hire someone through the Municipal Energy Manager program.
The program has helped the Town better understand and track our energy use, set ambitious energy savings goals, and implement projects to meet these goals. The Town of Cochrane views the program as an essential step towards creating a culture of energy efficiency and achieving the vision for the future of Cochrane “as a pioneer of sustainability”.
Implementing energy and cost-saving projects
Since joining the program in January 2020, Devin has already implemented energy conservation measures that will result in an estimated annual energy savings of $80,344 and an annual GHG emissions reduction of 380 tonnes. These savings were achieved through the program’s focus on first identifying and implementing low-cost/no-cost measures.
Two notable projects from Devin’s first year include:
- the window replacements at the Town Administration building, and
- the LED lighting upgrades across the Town’s administration, operations, and recreation facilities.
Devin applied for funding for the LED lighting upgrades through the Recreation Energy Conservation program, which offered up to 75 per cent of funding for the cost of the lighting project at recreation facilities. This funding reduced Cochrane’s payback period for LED lighting at recreation facilities down to one year. Furthermore, Cochrane plans to conduct a scoping audit through the Recreation Energy Conservation program to identify and implement additional energy savings.
Educating staff and the community
In addition to facility retrofits, Devin has created a robust education and engagement program within the Town Administration, and there are plans to expand to external community stakeholders in year two of the program.
In their first year of the program, a key engagement project was the creation of the Consumption Reduction Team, a group open to all Town staff with a passion for finding efficiency. The Consumption Reduction Team allows for cross collaboration throughout the organization with staff from a range of administrative departments. By bringing staff together from different areas of the organization, Devin is creating a more holistic awareness and dialog around efficiency. The Consumption Reduction Team has already begun to explore several exciting projects that include:
- Staff and community engagement campaign (video series)
- Paperless and ongoing process improvement
- E-signatures, e-payments, and e-submission portals
- Facility retrofit projects (e.g. LED lighting across all Town facilities)
- Space heater replacement program
- Community buck-a-bulb LED lighting exchange program
- Lobbying Province to reduce street/traffic light delivery costs (10% savings = ~$96,000)
Support from Council and staff
Furthermore, the Municipal Energy Manager program focuses on executive support within the organization, which has allowed Devin to work on strategic and large-scale projects. As a result, he is currently working to implement a local and regional transit service integration into Calgary, which is estimated to reduce commuter GHG emissions by 1,265 tonnes CO2 per year.
In addition, Devin is leading a grant application for a 2.5MW ground mounted solar farm project through a public-private partnership with a large local industrial emitter. The project is expected to reduce emissions by 2,547 tonnes of CO2 per year, contributing roughly $250,000 per year to the community benefit fund.
Support for Energy Managers
The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the Town of Cochrane and forced the administration to find ways to save on operating costs. However, Devin has been able to capitalize on this need by providing the Town’s Leadership with low-cost and no-cost projects that achieve savings, improve comfort, and empower staff to take action.
The program offers the support and flexibility to create significant savings and real changes within communities. Participation in the program has helped the City of St. Albert and Town of Cochrane build internal capacity for energy management that will provide savings for years to come.
Read more about the Municipal Energy Manager Program